Category: Meanings of Baby Names
By Gay Cioffi
As the youngest in my family of five, I am the only one who was not named for a grandparent or beloved aunt or uncle. As it happened, I was named for a fondly remembered childhood acquaintance of my mother.
While not only was breaking from that family tradition the cause of a bit of a stir, and it wasn’t a saint’s name to boot (also an expected practice) nothing prepared my parents or me for the fallout to come as I grew up with the name “Gay” in the fifties and sixties.
I remember hearing my mother’s account of the reaction she got from family members regarding her disregard for how children in the family were traditionally named. I also recall that she wavered a bit between the names Gay and Joy, but again the real controversy began in my later teens when the word “gay”, came to represent more than a synonym for happy or carefree.
The name Fox has cracked into the UK’s 1000 most popular names, while Kate Winslet and Alicia Silverstone are both raising children named Bear. But if you’re not quite up for naming your baby directly after an animal, consider the many names that have some majestic and inspiring animals hiding in their origins.
A Pack of Canines
Caleb, 2015’s 37th most popular boy name, might literally mean “dog,” from the Hebrew keleb, with a sense of “devotion.”
I’m a name nerd.
True story: In college, I spent hours compiling data for a study on the attractiveness of male and female names. Amanda? Very attractive. Mildred? Not so much. Ken was more attractive than Keith, while Liam was about as attractive as Levi. By the end of the study, I had an Iliad-length research paper and a major caramel-macchiato addiction.
Believe it or not, even after all of that research, I still get excited to dream up the perfect names for the characters in my books. Finding just the right character name actually helps a story start to take shape in my mind. Since I have a tendency to get stuck on finding the perfect name (Maura or Mara? Lila or Lily?), I try to break the process down into just three steps.
Looking for truly original inspiration for your child’s name? Forget the alphabet – start counting on numbers!
Traditionally, numeric baby names might indicate your birth order – think of brothers Primo and Secondo from 1990s movie Big Night. They also developed as nicknames for boys bearing family names, like Star Trek: Enterprise’s Trip Tucker – born Charles Tucker III.
But numeric baby names work for many reasons. They might commemorate a significant date, like your anniversary; symbolize good fortune or have spiritual meaning; or even remember a favorite athlete’s jersey number.
Here are some of the best number names, from the familiar to the unexpected. By Abby Sandel
If you believe that baby names are destiny and are hoping for a kid who will ace their SATs and go on to have a brilliant career and exhibit great wisdom in life, then a good strategy would be to choose a name that embodies intelligence and wisdom. And these are the smartest baby names that do all that.
Originally a lively o-ending German name meaning ‘old and wise’, Aldo has long been among the most popular baby names in Italy, where it’s Number 175, and is beginning to catch on here: it is now Number 617 in the US. Aldo Moro was an intellectual prime minister of Italy and Aldo Raine (aka Aldo the Apache) is a main character in the film Inglourious Bastards.